Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
Optimization in Robotics and Biomechanics

Optimization, Robotics & Biomechanics (ORB)

The research focus of the Optimization, Robotics & Biomechanics (ORB) group is on modeling, optimization and simulation of dynamic motions of anthropomorphic systems, i.e. humans, humanoid robots, and virtual human characters. Other research directions include motions of industrial robots, art robots, flying robots and swarm robots. From a mathematical perspective, we are particularly interested in the application and development of efficient numerical optimal control, inverse optimal control and non-smooth optimization techniques for complex hybrid dynamical system models. We also develop efficient tools to set up realistic dynamical optimization models of humans, robots and other technical devices including rigid multibody system models, muscle models and neural control.

Since April 2017, we are part of the Institute of Computer Engineering (ZITI) of Heidelberg University. We remain members of the Interdiscplinary Center for Scientific Computing (IWR) as external research group. 

Our research projects cover the following topics:

  • optimization of humanoid walking motions in different terrains
  • human movement understanding & identification of underlying objective functions of human motions in different situations
  • generation of fast human-like walking, running, jumping, diving and other gymnastics motions stability optimization of human and robot motions study of
  • characteristics of pathological gait in orthopedics and of walking motions with prostheses, orthoses and functional electrical stimulation
  • optimization of the design and control of exoskeletons
  • optimization of physically assistive devices for the elderly
  • trajectory optimization for robots
  • studies of artistic and emotional aspects of dynamic motions and development of art robots
  • investigation of processes related to cognition and orientation during locomotion and traffic interaction
  • controlling octocopters for automated photogrammetric reconstruction in archeology
  • needle path planning in robot assisted prostate brachytherapy and development of training environments
  • optimal control studies of manipulation combining motor control and biomechanical modeling approaches

Our interdisciplinary research creates bridges between scientific computing and many other disciplines, such as robotics, engineering, biomechanics, medicine, orthopedics, sports, computer graphics, cognitive sciences, art and archeology.

The ORB group in June 2015


 Former group pictures





K. Mombaur,
Last Update: 18.04.2017 - 12:32

The photographs in the header of this webpage have been taken at the Musee de l'Automate in Souillac, France